Central European Countries Establish Visegrad Patent Institute To Reduce Costs, Facilitate Applications 18/03/2015 by Jaroslaw Adamowski for Intellectual Property Watch 1 Comment Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)WARSAW – In a move towards increased regional cooperation in the field of intellectual property, Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic have signed an agreement to set up the Visegrad Patent Institute (VPI). And representatives of the parties to the agreement say that their ambitions reach further, towards ensuring the recently-established body becomes a regional hub for patent cooperation in Central-Eastern Europe. The four countries, which have been advancing their regional collaboration in economy, energy, military and a wide range of other fields as part of the Visegrad Group, say the latest move is a result of cooperation between their respective industrial property offices, preceded by several rounds of expert meetings. The deal was signed by Slovakia’s Industrial Property Office (IPO SR), the Hungarian Intellectual Property Office (HIPO), the Industrial Property Office of the Czech Republic (IPO CR), and Poland’s Patent Office (UPRP). “The establishment of the Visegrad Patent Institute (VPI) is an important contribution to the efforts … to foster innovation and creativity and to promote economic growth and competitiveness in the Central and Eastern European region. Applicants from the Visegrad Four countries will find it easier and cheaper to protect their innovations internationally,” the offices said in a joint statement released after the deal was signed in Slovakia’s capital Bratislava on 26 February. Applicants will be able to communicate with the office in their respective mother tongues, a measure that is “expected to reduce costs associated with fees for PCT applications for 25% for business and 37% for individuals,” according to estimates by the signing parties. As a result, the four offices forecast this should “contribute to an increase in the number of international patent applications from the Visegrad Group countries.” The VPI will operate as an International Searching Authority (ISA) and International Preliminary Examining Authority (IPEA) under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), benefitting from the existing capacities of the four patent offices. The institute will provide a search report and a preliminary opinion on the possibility of obtaining a patent for a given invention to applicants from Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Poland and Hungary. In addition to this, the VPI will provide its services to applicants from certain (so far unspecified) neighbouring countries from the region if it secures an application as a recognised ISA and IPEA from respective countries. Should this attempt prove to be successful, the VPI could become an important hub for regional cooperation in the field of patents. Adam Taukert, spokesperson for Poland’s Patent Office, said the new institution will be open to all interested European countries. “By creating the institute, our aim was to ensure an easier access to the PCT system. Those who apply from relevant states will be enabled to obtain an international search report and a preliminary opinion and benefit from preferential discounts … which is particularly important for individuals, small and medium-size enterprises, universities, research institutes and non-profit organisations,” Taukert told Intellectual Property Watch. In their latest initiative, the four countries are drawing on the experiences of the Scandinavian countries, which have engaged in similar cooperations, according to Taukert. “The agreement on the creating of the Visegrad Patent Institute is modeled on the example of the Nordic Patent Institute which has been active since 2008, and whose members include Denmark, Iceland and Norway,” he said. The four countries claim that small and medium-sized enterprises, universities, research organisations and other users of the patent system will be given a favourable and efficient option for obtaining patent protection at international level, while reducing overall costs related to applications. Under the plan, the VPI is to begin its operations as an International Searching and International Preliminary Examining Authority following examination after its formal appointment by the Assembly of the International Patent Cooperation Union and its approval by the General Assembly of member states of the World Intellectual Property Organization. This is expected to happen in 2016, according to the signing parties. The institute is to be based in Hungary’s capital Budapest. “The signing of this agreement is a reflection of the dynamics and broad scope of our cooperation under V4 that is not just at the political level, but is also reflected in specific projects bringing benefits directly to citizens and enterprises,” said Miroslav Lajčák, Slovakia’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign and European Affairs. Local politicians say they are hoping that cooperation in the field of patents will spur other areas of partnership within the group. “We have just launched closer cooperation in the area of innovation that may contribute to higher competitiveness of companies in our region and also increase the international prestige of the Visegrad Four,” Lajčák said. In 2015, the Slovak government is hosting the presidency of the Visegrad Group, and fostering improved industrial patent protection in the region is one of its priorities. The presidency will rotate annually, from July to June each year. Annual summits are also held. “Our common objective shall be to implement policies supporting the implementation of technological and social innovations in line with efforts to rise the competitiveness of the region,” the Slovak presidency said in its policy paper, available here, outlining its objectives for the Visegrad Group this year. “We will focus on emphasising the current attractiveness of the V4 region in terms of professional skills and ICT expertise.” Moreover, in the field of intellectual property, the patent-related initiative is only one angle of the planned measures, according to Bratislava. In addition to the Visegrad Patent Institute, Slovakia is planning to promote other measures in the field of IP protection, such as closer cooperation between VG institutions with a focus on online violations of IP. The Slovak presidency says it also “envisages closer cooperation between relevant institutions of the V4 countries in enforcing intellectual property rights with special focus on violations of intellectual property rights … of the Internet and on the exchange of information and good practices.” In 2012, Hungary’s patent office accounted for 758 patent applications, its Polish counterpart for 4,657, the Slovak office for 203, and the one in the Czech Republic for 1,017, according to available data published by WIPO. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Related Jaroslaw Adamowski may be reached at email@example.com."Central European Countries Establish Visegrad Patent Institute To Reduce Costs, Facilitate Applications" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.